Cimmeria Planning: The Dragon War

There’s an event in Cimmerian history that I described to my players but never really detailed called the Dragon War.

It’s a turning point in the history of my campaign world. I have a basic outline of it, but managing the writing of it is difficult with the way I’ve set the blog right now.

Let me explain what the event is first.

My campaign is currently taking place around 400BCE. 500 years ago, around 900BCE, dragons ruled Cimmeria.

The dragons were definitely evil and nasty. They ate people, stole wealth, and burned crops just to watch people starve.

Ten brave heroes, who had accomplished many things on their own, joined together to lead a rebellion against the dragons.

The dragon’s slave armies were defeated and the heroes took the fight directly to the dragons.

Dragons come in ten varieties in D&D, Red, Blue, Green, Black, White, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Copper, and Brass. One for each of the ten heroes.

Death is only a temporary thing for divine creatures in Greek mythology so when the heroes defeated the dragons, they imprisoned the monsters instead of killing them.

A pair of dragons had ruled each of the colors. The heroes trapped one dragon of each pair in a mystical orb while the other dragon was set to guard the orb for all eternity. The orbs, infused with draconic might, give whoever holds them the power to command dragons of that orb’s color.

If you’ve played D&D, yes, these are the infamous artifacts, the Orbs of Dragonkind.

The heroes split the Orbs up and set further defenses around them. Additionally, instead of dying normal deaths, the heroes accepted a sort of cryopreservation. If the Orbs were ever broken and the dragons released upon the world once more, a hero would be awoken to renew the fight against the flying lizards.

One of my players, Zigfried, has a character who is one of these awakened heroes, Danar.

But back to the point of this post, why is it difficult to write about this for my blog?

The problem hinges around the heroes having “accomplished many things on their own” prior to working as a group.

If I write this as a Timeline post first, then I practically have to come up with the history for all ten heroes before even starting.

If I write this as Characters of Cimmeria entries, I still have to come up with the specific events of the Dragon War as all ten of the heroes would’ve interacted with that part.

I’m going to break away from the boundaries I set for myself a little bit and write about the events leading up to the Dragon War in a different way.

I’ll start with an unfinished Characters of Cimmeria entry for each of the ten heroes detailing their adventures during the time of draconic opression before joining together. Once the events of the Dragon War are completely written I can go back and complete the Characters of Cimmeria entries along with the Timeline.

Zigfried already did a lot of work on Danar’s backstory. I’ll post an editted version of his work on Monday and start writing the others for the coming weeks.

-GoCorral

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Thesis Proposal and Homework

Some of you may be asking, “Where, oh where, has GoCorral gone? Where is the weekly update of his blog? There hasn’t even been a picture of his toenails to tell us he’s still alive!”

Well, I am still alive, I’ve just been rather busy with school these last few days.

Among my many responsibilities I have had:
1. A massive final project on homologous genes to the C. elegans myosin gene, unc-54, that is rapidly approaching 50 pages in length.
2. A final paper on intron retention being the first sign of speciation.
3. Scheduling and preparing my thesis proposal presentation.
4. Grading essays for the basic biology class I am teaching this semester.
5. All the usual stuff I have to do.

I’m keeping a good handle on #1 and #5. #4 is a slow truck that keeps on going.

Due to all the other stuff I’ve been doing #2 did not turn out as good as I would’ve liked. I loved the thesis of that paper, but I wish I’d used more time to find additional supporting evidence and described the supporting evidence in a better fashion.

#3 is the most exciting one! My thesis proposal presentation happened on Friday and was probably the most important moment in my career up to this point.

I got super nervous before giving the presentation and made a few mistakes in the preparation and delivery, but it still went quite well.

Every presentation should have at least one picture of a confused panda.
Every presentation should have at least one picture of a confused panda.

I passed the proposal which means I can continue on with my project! Woohoo! I do have to update my abstract to reflect my definite research goals which were outlined in the meeting.

That’s what I’ve been up to. There’s still more to do! I predict I’ll be done with most of it by the end of next week. After that, regular blog updates will resume.

-GoCorral

Gurutama Cosmology

I’ve been doing some more work on the Gurutama campaign setting at the wiki. It’s by no means finished, but you can take a look at the site and see what we’ve accomplished so far.

Moving to the wiki has been a good thing for progress on the world. When I was posting stuff here I was the only one contributing. Makes sense, as I’m the only one with access to the content creator on this site.

On the wiki other people in my group of friends have started contributing or showed interest in contributing. We’ve had discussions that include the whole group on what articles we want to include and where we want to take those articles. Overall, the wiki has been great for the collaborative creative process I was hoping for when we set out to make Gurutama using Dawn of Worlds.

Which brings me to this post! One of the larger pages on the wiki is done, the Cosmology page.

Cosmology in the usual sense means the study of the origin of the universe. In roleplaying games it also means the origin of the gods, the gods relations to each other and the world, and where/if other dimensions exist that are accessible from the main campaign setting.

The cosmology of Gurutama is cyclical. If you’ve been following along with the timeline updates, you might’ve noticed that the Dwarves are a survivor race from the last cycle that recorded valuable information for use in future cycles in their Books.

We’ve elaborated on that concept and the cycles are now portrayed as a sort of eternal contest between four elemental gods and the god of death.

The present cycle for Gurutama has been disrupted because a sixth powerful force entered the world, Navillus. He’s disrupted everything which might spell the end of the cycles for good!

My original plan for future work on Gurutama was to have some of the articles moved here for people to look at, but that no longer makes a lot of sense. The wiki’s organization is just so much better in terms of page structure for easy reading of long articles with multiple sections (like the Cosmology article).

I’ll keep what I’ve done on Gurutama on this site posted and available for people to read, but I think all future content will be posted on the wiki.

I’ll still be doing occasional blog posts like this to call attention to the good completed pages on the wiki though!

For example, besides the completed Cosmology page, we’ve also completed good articles on The Sword of the Hero and The Great Canal. Check ’em out!

-GoCorral

Condensed Gurutama Timeline

The Revised Gurutama Timeline is done! But the problem is that it weighs in at around 35 pages when you load it up in Microsoft Word.

If you’ve ever glanced at the timeline section of a campaign setting, it’s usually contained on just two facing pages.

The full version is still useful for the creators of the setting (myself and a few other members of my gaming group). The full version is still fun for those who are already interested in the setting and want to learn more about Gurutama’s history. But for the casual reader who is just strolling by on the internet? TOO MUCH INFORMATION!

So I’ve whittled it down to contain just the essentials.

The new Condensed Gurutama Timeline is up and running.

My gaming group has also started a Wikia for Gurutama. There isn’t much there yet, but we’re working on filling it up!

First step is, of course, moving the timeline over. The revised version in case you were wondering.

As I move over the revised timeline I’m also inserting links to various pages that don’t exist yet. Once those pages are created and filled it, I won’t need to go back to create links everywhere.

Plus, the Wikia has a cool feature where it tells me what dead links I still have floating around.

If I forget one link in all the pages I’m creating, I don’t need to go back through all the pages and check the links. I can just go to the “Wanted Pages” section of the Wikia and see what I haven’t created a page for yet! Greatest thing ever!

But why switch from working on Gurutama on my blog to using a Wikia in the first place?

Pretty easy answer actually, Gurutama is a community project that my gaming group and I have been working on. If everything is posted on my blog where they don’t have access to edit the work, it can hardly be considered a community project.

With the Wikia, anything they want to create and share they can do so without the need of emailing me a Word doc to upload onto the blog or for everyone to throw into a folder and forget about.

And the Wikia system makes everything much more organized. See a word or phrase that you don’t remember the significance of? Just click on the link and you can learn more about that thing!

I'm even learning how to code using Wikia's source language!
I’m even learning how to code using Wikia’s source language!

In the future I’ll probably be working on Gurutama through the Wikia first. Once a significant Wikia page/group of pages is done, I’ll post something about it on my blog here and add another page to the Gurutama section at the top.

That’s all for now on Gurutama!

-GoCorral

Mister Ed Signature

Woo! I have kept this blog going for a full year now.

Updates have obviously slowed down since I started the blog and as expected, I’m always posting fewer updates than I’d like to do. That was true even when I was on the one every weekday schedule as I occasionally fell behind.

There’s been a lot of variety of posts over the past year. Some stuff on science, some on games, some on everyday life stuff, and some movie reviews.

I also originally had posts on political charged events. While I’m still reading stuff along those lines, I haven’t been writing as much about it.

There’s a few reasons for that. Political stuff tends to offend people and I don’t want to do that. My viewpoint isn’t particularly original. Political stuff in general tends to stress me out. Other stuff like that.

There’s also clearly two groups of people reading the blog that I can tell from the stats page on WordPress. Those who like the social and science posts which are basically about what’s going on in my life. The second group likes the posts on games.

Do I need to focus more to please one of those groups and enlarge it? I don’t think so. My original plan was to have lots of content so that whichever group was reading would have something for them at least once a week. I’ve fallen off the once a week plan and gone towards a once a month plan, but the basic principle is the same.

Over the past year I’ve also been transitioning away from the blanket anonymity I had when I started the blog. My name and picture are present along with what town I live in.

That also means I’ve been transitioning away from the Mister Ed identity, a reference that few people get anymore. I’ve been consolidating a few of my other online identities into one as well.

The new identity is pretty simple. What’s the name of the blog? GoCorral. What should my identity be on the blog? GoCorral. A few other people have already been calling me that online, so I’ll just keep with the trend.

So that’s why I am abandoning the Mister Ed signature from now on in favor of the new signature…

-GoCorral

Public Persona

EEEEEEE! Gretchen Rubin emailed me! *faints*
EEEEEEE! Gretchen Rubin emailed me! *faints*

Previously I wrote about my reluctance to go public with my real name.

I ended up emailing Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project. Reading that book was what gave me the idea to start this blog.

And I got a reply! Hurray!

The emails are in the picture above and I’ll repeat them in the text here. First, the email I initially sent to Gretchen.

“Dear Gretchen,

My wife got me The Happiness Project last year and I’ve enjoyed reading it slowly and applying your advice to my own life. One of your happiness projects was starting a blog. I liked the idea so much that I’ve started my own. The blog is called GoCorral and you can find it at gocorral.wordpress.com if you’re interested. Now that I’ve gotten into a rhythm of sorts with the blog I wanted to ask for a little help from you.

So far I’ve been running my blog and associated sites anonymously. I was worried about unwanted attention in my personal life if my blog ever took off to epic proportions like yours has. By maintaining anonymity I’ve kept the option open of disappearing in the future, but I fear I’m also alienating my audience by doing so. All the serious bloggers I’ve heard of use their real names. I get the feeling that personal identification naturally improves a blog because so much of the content is about the author’s personal life, thoughts, and experiences.

I wanted to get your opinion on using your real name and your family’s names in your writing.  I’m interested in the positives and the negatives. Do you ever feel uncomfortable using your real name instead of a pseudonym? How do your children and your husband feel about it? Have there ever been any real problems associated with having a public persona that you’ve encountered or heard of? What are some of the good things about going public with your name?

I’d appreciate anything you can tell me!

-Mister Ed”
And the reply I got back:
“Terrific!
I use my name online, but don’t use my family members’ names (though I do use those in my books).
I didn’t really ponder this, because I wanted my work to be associated with my name. Everything I write is with the expectation that it’s public.
I’ve never experienced a negative with it, nor has my family.
Good luck!”
And then my thank you note:
“Gretchen,

Wow! Thanks for your reply! I think I will go public with my name then. I appreciate your help.
-Isaac Shaker (Mister Ed)”
And now I am public on my blog!
For most of the people reading the blog this will mean almost nothing. My family and friends already know I’m writing this and access my blog through Facebook or Google+.
For everyone else? Still almost nothing. I’m still the same person and I’ll still write the same stuff. I’ll even keep writing Mister Ed at the end of each post.
The About Me section of the site is pretty much the only thing that’ll change.
That’s pretty much it. I’m no longer worried about any negative consequences. I’ve looked for them and they just don’t seem to be there. Steven King’s Misery really is as fictional as it seems.
-Mister Ed

Twitch and Audible Magic

The first part of an email that Twitch sent out to all their users.
The first part of an email that Twitch sent out to all their users.

Twitch answered my questions about whether copyrighted music is allowed on live streams in a recent email/blog post.

Unless I get permission from the artist/label, the answer is “NO!”

Twitch recently did a restructuring of their website. This included Twitch’s precursor website Justin.tv.

Justin.tv has been removed and Twitch is now focusing on their more profitable product, Twitch.tv.

They’re also attempting to make Twitch more profitable by reducing the amount of storage space they’re using for the website.

Previously, a streamer like me could store ALL their past broadcasts on Twitch.

Not many people watch those and it requires Twitch to have a lot of hard drive space to store them.

With the benefit of this infinite storage being next to nothing for Twitch, they’re removing that service.

Past broadcasts are now saved for about a week. That week allows a streamer to cut out the best portions as highlights to save forever.

The removal of Justin.tv and the extra storage space both sound like smart ideas to me. Twitch saves money and the majority of their users don’t care.

The audio protection also makes sense, but a lot of people are upset about it.

Audible Magic is a service that identifies copyrighted music and flags it for Twitch.

Flagged videos then have the 30 minute section around that copyrighted portion muted. That seems excessive to me for what could’ve been a 30 second clip of music, but whatever.

But that’s only for videos, the past broadcasts that Twitch is removing and highlights that might contain copyrighted material.

Audible Magic will not be screening live streams on Twitch for copyrighted material, so thousands of streamers can still get away with playing copyrighted music in live streams.

I’d prefer not to do that. If I really want my Twitch channel to succeed in a big way I cannot break the law to do so. Twitch has made it clear, playing copyrighted music without permission to do so is not okay.

A lot of high profile streamers use public domain music, so that’s where I’ll be going next.

There’s a lot of places to look for music I can use. If anybody has any suggestions, feel free to let me know!

-Mister Ed